Fighter jet in mid-air crash with plane as rescue launched to find two missing pilots in sea off Port Philip, Australia | The Sun

AN ex-military jet has plunged into the water after two aircraft collided mid-air in Australia.

It is understood two people were on board the civilian-piloted plane when it crashed into Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay.

Emergency services were called to The Esplanade about 1.45pm local time on Sunday, local media reports.

A large-scale search has found what appears to be the wreckage of a light aircraft, but the pilot and a passenger remain missing.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the mid-air collision involved two light aircraft, approximately 7.4 miles west of Mornington.

An AMSA spokeswoman said: “At 1.42pm, Air Traffic Services advised the Australian Maritime Safety Authority of a mid-air collision two Viper S-211 Marchetti light aircraft, Victoria.

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“Search assets have located a wreckage in the area.

"AMSA will continue to coordinate the search for the two people on board the crashed aircraft, until last light.”

The planes were both Viper S-211 Marchetti, former military jets that were being piloted by civilians.

It is understood they were conducting a formation flight over the bay when they collided, reports.

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One of the two-seater aircraft lost control, smashing into the water, while the other was able to return to Essendon Airport.

Raising the alarm, the pilot of the jet which remained airborne following the crash, radioed; ‘Viper 1 … mayday, mayday, mayday”.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau announced it would launch an investigation into the crash.

Chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said: “The ATSB will investigate a mid-air collision between two aircraft over Port Phillip Bay on Sunday afternoon.

“The ATSB asks anyone who may have witnessed and has footage of the accident, or who has footage of the aircraft in any phase of their flights, to contact us via the witness form on our website at their earliest convenience.”

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